There was a time gap of almost two hours between the first two murders at West Ambler-Johnston and the 30 deaths at Norris Hall in Virginia Tech. In the two hour gap, Cho Seung-Hui gathered a 23-page manifesto, 27 videos, and photos; sent the package to NBC as a press release; and then
returned to Virginia Tech to finish his heinous agenda.
During that two hour break, authorities never thought of alerting students about the two on-campus homicides. They assumed that there was no further threat to other students. When asked about their failure to take precautionary measures, authorities answered that random acts of violence cannot be prevented. They also noted that it’s hard to warn 26,000 students at the same time.
Their explanation is unacceptable. As pointed out by concerned organizations, if a simple text messaging system had been in place, and a message had been sent from the authorities, preventive measures could have been taken. At the very least, classes could have been conducted inside closed doors. If precautionary measures were taken, many of those slaughtered students would still be attending class today.
Institutions of higher education have their own policies for handling mentally ill or suicidal students. Recently, the state of Virginia felt compelled to change the law. The Act, H 3064 of Virginia, approved by the Governor on March 21, 2007, reads:
“The governing boards of each public institution of higher education shall develop and implement policies that advise students, faculty, and staff, including residence hall staff, of the proper procedures for identifying and addressing the needs of students exhibiting suicidal tendencies or behavior. The policies shall ensure that no student is penalized or expelled solely for attempting to commit suicide or seeking mental health treatment for suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Nothing in this section shall preclude any public institution of higher education from establishing policies and procedures for appropriately dealing with students who are a danger to themselves, or to others, and whose behavior is disruptive to the academic community.”
A temporary detention order of the court, like that obtained for Cho in 2005, means that under Virginia law, the magistrate found Cho to be both “mentally ill and in need of hospitalization or treatment.” It also found Cho to be “an imminent danger to himself or others, or is so seriously mentally ill as to be substantially unable to care for himself.”
The fact that Nikki Giovanni had Cho removed from her class shows that Cho was disruptive to the academic community.
H 3064 clearly stated that it did not preclude those governing the institution from establishing policies and procedures for appropriately dealing with students who are a danger to themselves or to others, and whose behavior is disruptive to the academic community.
Posted by: L | April 24, 2007
VTech Response Did Not Conform Even to Recent VTech Guidelines
Posted in VTech-Psych/legal failure
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- V-Tech: Profile of Cho and Details of Case
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